acts of the civil authorities which conflict with orders from the War Department.
2. To turn over the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth entirely to the civil authorities, removing the United States troops beyond the city limits, establishing a cordon of soldiers beyond, so as to prevent ingress and egress, and carry out existing military orders, &c.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA, SEVENTH ARMY CORPS, Norfolk, Va., August 15, 1863.
Major General J. G. FOSTER:
GENERAL: Your favor of the 13th instant, inclosing a copy of that of the President of the United States of the 8th instant, is before me.
I regret that the efforts made by me to establish proper and friendly relations between myself and the civil authorities within this department should have been treated in so very unfriendly and unfair a manner by the mayor and common council of the city of Portsmouth,and that the representations made to the President are not in accordance with the facts.
From the tenor of the note of the President, he has been made to believe that there was some "difficulty at Norfolk and Portsmouth between the city authorities on the one side and our military on the other," and that they are "in serious conflict about the mode of providing for certain destitute families whose natural supporters are in the rebel army or have been killed in it. " Now, general, with all due deference to the parties concerned, no such issue ever was made between the mayor and council and myself, and I never knew there ever existed any conflict between us upon any other subject until my attention was called to the resolutions passed by them. The facts are simply these:
On the 25th of July, I assumed command and made my headquarters at Norfolk as requested by you. On the same day the Lieutenant-Governor of the State of Virginia, Lieutenant-Governor Cowper, one of the committee sent to the President, called and informed me of the destitute condition of certain families who were suffering, and I immediately requested him to furnish me with proper lists, and that I would forthwith order them to be provided for, which was done. On the following day I was informed that the common council of Portsmouth, not of Norfolk, had passed the following ordinance:
Resolved, That the mayor be, and he is hereby, authorized to collect rents for all houses, stores, and all other property owned by persons who refuse to take the oath of allegiance to the United States Government and the restored Government of Virginia, and that the proceeds be applied to relieve the wants of families in destitute circumstances and assist and defraying the expenses of the city government.
Adopted July 13, 1863.
WM. F. PARKER,
Clerk to Council.
And also another, repudiating certain obligations of that city, both of which were causing a great deal of excitement and alarm.
I immediately sought an interview with Mr. Daniel Collins, the mayor of the city of Portsmouth, with the purpose of a friendly